They have additionally demanded that the British province of Northern Ireland, which now has an open border with the only EU member-state which will share a land frontier with the United Kingdom after Brexit, must remain inside their Customs Union, in order to keep it free of customs checkpoints.
He did offer an olive branch to the prime minister, however, by suggesting that he might consider proposals to write a "review" clause into the agreement providing the outcome of any such review could "not involve a unilateral decision to end the backstop".
Theresa May's proposed concessions to Brussels, initially laid out in her so-called "Chequers Plan", led to Secretary of State for Brexit and nominal lead Brexit negotiator David Davis resigning from her Cabinet along with junior minister Steve Baker, followed not long after by Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary Boris Johnson - the ad hoc leader of the Vote Leave group which was designated as lead Brexit campaign during the European Union referendum.
Mr Coveney's spokesperson said the European Union had been united through the Brexit process and the UK had given written commitments that the Withdrawal Agreement would give a legal guarantee of no return to a hard Border in Ireland in any circumstance.
The UK is looking for an agreement based on an improved version of the EU's "equivalence" system of financial market access.
Pressed on Boris Johnson's description of the mooted exit plan as an "absolute stinker", the spokesman said: "There isn't anything new in that article for me to respond to".
"In order to ensure that the backstop, if ever needed, would be temporary, the Prime Minister said that there would need to be a mechanism through which the backstop could be brought to an end".
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reported that Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has privately demanded the right to pull Britain out of the EU's proposed Irish backstop after just three months.
Amazon HQ2 to be split evenly between two cities
Many reporters quickly reacted on Twitter to the Journal story, with some joking about naming conventions. The company had promised to bring 50,000 high-paying jobs and $5 billion in construction to HQ2's home .
A spokesperson for Number 10 Downing Street described the reports as "speculation".
The Sunday Times also adds that preparations for a final deal are more advanced than now publicised, with a document of 50 pages or more potentially on the cards.
"We are still some way off on the backstop", said one source.
But Mr Johnson dismissed this format as "a Christmas present of the finest old Brussels fudge" which would mean the United Kingdom getting "absolutely nothing in return" for its £39 billion divorce payment. "We need to stop before it is too late".
Negotiations between Britain and the European Union over Britain's departure from the bloc have stalled over the issue of the border between EU member Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland.
Both sides agree there must be no customs posts or other barriers that could disrupt businesses and residents or undermine Northern Ireland's peace. Under this plan we surrender control to Brussels.
"As soon as MPs understand what is really at stake, I have no doubt that they will throw this deal out".
Varadkar separately told reporters that an expiry date of that nature would not be worth the paper it is written on.
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